Iceland's Christmas advert banned for being too political

Bessie Dean
November 10, 2018

Iceland Foods worked with Greenpeace to repurpose a film the environmental organization originally launched in August; the spot would become Iceland Foods' entry in Britain's annual Christmas advertising bonanza.

Iceland said it had spent £500,000 on putting its campaign together and insisted it had booked a number of prime-time TV slots with the full intention of having it cleared to air over Christmas.

It highlights rainforest destruction caused by palm oil production and is dedicated to the 25 orangutans "we lose every day".

Earlier this year, Iceland revealed that they were the first major United Kingdom supermarket to remove palm oil from all its own-brand products.

Now, if they really wanted to pull a John Lewis (that's the United Kingdom retailer, not the American congressman and civil rights icon), we'll be seeing Iceland-branded plush Rang-Tan toys under the tree. Palm oils are found in numerous products, from chocolate to shampoos and there are growing calls globally to clearly label products so that consumers can make better informed decisions.

It follows the company's pledge to remove palm oil from its shelves and was meant to "improve shoppers' understanding" of the issue, with palm oil appearing in more than half of all supermarket products.

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"You won't see our Christmas advert on TV this year, because it was banned".

Iceland hoped that the advert would improve shoppers' understanding of rainforest destruction for palm oil production; the retailer it was going to commit more than half a million pounds of media spend to getting it in front of consumers.

Richard Walker, managing director for Iceland Food group said: "We wanted [the Greenpeace film] to be our signature campaign".

Advertising body Clearcast said the organisation hadn't banned the short film but that it couldn't clear it to run on TV as it is breaches the rules of the Broadcast Code of Advertising Practice which stops companies from broadcasting political adverts.

It added that Greenpeace had "not yet been able to demonstrate compliance in this area".

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